Health & wellbeing events involve rural chaplaincy

19.2.2024 | Mission News, Mission in Ireland, Chaplaincy, Farming and Rural Life

Farmers and farm families across Northern Ireland have been invited to attend a series of events aimed at encouraging greater awareness of physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. The first of six events start on Wednesday in the County Londonderry village of Kilrea.

Called ‘Mission: Farm Strong’ the events take place at different livestock marts, and are being supported by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s (PCI) rural chaplaincy team, along with Farm Families Health Checks, Health & Safety Executive NI (HSENI), Rural Support, Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), and the Northern Ireland Agri-Rural Health Forum.

Talking about the initiative, Rev Kenny Hanna, PCI’s Rural Chaplain said “We are delighted to be hosting these events within six marts across the province. The idea came from a conversation with the Farm Families Health Checks team at Balmoral Show, as we wanted to give a fresh take on their blood pressure checks programme.

“From there, the plan grew and we are very grateful that so many organisations were willing to get involved. We are excited to meet with the farmers on their home turf to encourage them to carefully consider their physical, mental and spiritual health and wellbeing.

“The Rural Chaplaincy will be travelling to all six marts in a specially sponsored New Holland tractor, and we will be meeting with several local primary schools along the way to help promote our messages of a positive health and wellbeing for all. We look forward to seeing you all there,” he said.

At the marts, farmers and farm families will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from the supporting organisations. At the same time, individuals will also be able to avail of free blood pressure checks, which will be provided by the Farm Families Health Check Van.

Each event opens at 10.30am at the following locations:

  • Kilrea Mart: Wednesday - 21 February
  • Enniskillen Mart: Thursday - 22 February
  • Ballymena Mart: Friday - 23 February
  • Clogher Mart: Saturday - 24 February
  • Rathfriland Mart: Friday - 1 March
  • Markethill Mart: Saturday - 2 March

Dr Rebecca Orr, Rural GP and Chair of the Northern Ireland Agri-Rural Health Forum said, “This is an excellent opportunity for the farming community to avail of support for their own physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. Given that blood pressure checks will be performed at each mart we have chosen to fundraise for the British Heart Foundation. I would encourage all members of the farming family to avail of ‘Mission: Farm Strong’ in support of a stronger, healthier and more resilient farming community,” Dr Orr continued.

If you would like more information in support of your health and wellbeing, please visit the NI Farm Support hub at or telephone their Support Line on Freephone 0800 138 1678 available Monday – Friday 9am-9pm. You can also call with the nurses at the Farm Families Health Checks van at your local participating mart.

Images (1) left to right: Victoria Ross (Rural Support), Christina Faulkner (Farm Families Health Checks), Jim Henning (Rural Chaplaincy), David Brown (UFU President), Camilla Mackey (HSENI), Harry Burke of Burkes of Cornascriebe, who are sponsoring the tractor, Rachel Millar (UFU), Simon Walsh (Rural Chaplaincy), David Johnston (Rural Chaplaincy) and in the tractor, Rev Kenny Hanna (Rural Chaplain) (2) PCI's Rural Chaplain logo.

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